SOAS University of London

Department of History, School of History, Religions & Philosophies

H253 Islam in Southeast Asia, 1760s-1960s

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2018/2019
Taught in:
Full Year
The course seeks to examine movements of Islamic reform in South East Asia, from late eighteenth century stirrings to first post-independence generation, including areas where Muslims are a minority of the population. Charting patterns of continuity and change in the reform process, the course seeks to distinguish between indigenous and imported ideas.

Overall, the course introduces students to a range of crucial ways in which Islam has developed in the region, reflecting the attention paid to particular themes by the foremost historians of the subject.

The unit is primarily intended for second, third or fourth year students, following the ‘Asia-Pacific’ or ‘Islamic’ pathway. There are no formal prerequisites, but students may find it helpful to have previously taken a course on the history of either South East Asia or Islam.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

By the end of the course, students will have a broad familiarity with the history of Islamic reform in Southeast Asia from the 1760s to the 1960s. They will also have developed existing skills in researching and writing historical essays, delivering seminar presentations on historical topics, and thinking critically about historical issues. More specifically, students will work on analyzing arguments, identifying intellectual assumptions and rhetorical strategies, and evaluating the use of evidence by historians. 

Students will be further encouraged to identify unexamined questions, and to suggest possible answers on the basis of available evidence. They will need to design manageable projects for research, develop information skills in finding relevant material, collate and process information from varied sources and viewpoints, participate in group discussions, and present reasoned arguments in both oral and written form.

Method of assessment

Exam (60%) and 3 x Coursework (40%)

Suggested reading

  • Azra, Azyumardi (2004) The origins of Islamic reformism in Southeast Asia.
  • Riddell, Peter (2001) Islam and the Malay-Indonesian world.
  • Ricklefs, M. C. (2007) Polarizing Javanese society, Islamic and other visions.
  • Carey, Peter (2007) The power of prophecy: Prince Dipanagara and the end of an old order in Java.
  • Dijk, Cornelis van (1981) Rebellion under the banner of Islam: the Darul Islam.
  • Boland, B. J. (1982) The struggle of Islam in modern Indonesia.
  • Saleh, Fauzan (2001) Modern trends in Islamic theological discourse in 20th century Indonesia.
  • Roff, William R. (1994) The origins of Malay nationalism, 2nd ed.
  • Majul, Cesar Adib (1973) Muslims in the Philippines.
  • Forbes, Andrew D. W., ed. (1988-89) The Muslims of Thailand.
  • Yegar, Moshe (2002) Between integration and secession (Burma, Thailand, Philippines).
  • Atwill, David G. (2006) The Chinese sultanate (Yunnan).


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